California Riding Magazine • July, 2008

Morgan News
Jump Into Action This July!

by Rebecca Sparenberg

I wanted to start by sharing a little bit of news that just tickled me pink. I’ve spent most of the spring starting my 4-year-old Prize over fences and I keep hearing the same thing, “You want to do jumpers with him, but he’s a Morgan?”

Several times I have wanted to knock my head against a barn wall—luckily we only have a mare motel. I find myself constantly battling a stigma that until recently I hadn’t known existed: that all Morgans are high stepping, saddle seat horses. I’m saddened because in the open hunter/jumper circuit, which I ride on regularly, I have been repeatedly told that as a Morgan, “Prize can’t do what I need.” Jump three feet? Well he’s only 4!

At 6 months old he had jumped out of his stall and as a yearling his paddock. Which much to my concern, he has done twice since we relocated to California. I have always known he had “potential” and secretly thought that there are more of us (Morgan owners) out there competing amongst the open sporthorse than they realize. Like munchkins hiding from the wicked witch, we are just biding our time, waiting for our Dorothy to arrive and then suddenly people will realize there are dozens of us.

I have felt for some time that in the future we were going to see more and more open Morgan sporthorses—dressage, hunter and jumpers! So when an AMHA blip, “Jump for A Grand,” crossed my desk I quickly opened it; despite the fact that it was for an East Coast show.
The Mid-Atlantic Morgan Horse Show will be hosting a $1,000 Open Jumper Championship. Finally, proof that there are other high-jumping Morgans out there—at least enough to host a class. Is it a sign of things to come? Only time will tell. All I know is when a West Coast show hosts an Open Jumper Championship, me and Prize will be there!

Alright, with no further delay on to the Morgan News.

California to Host National Convention

The AMHA has announced that Sacramento will be the host city for the 2009 Annual AMHA Conventions. The convention will be held Feb. 18-21, 2009 at the Radisson Hotel Sacramento. Room rates are $118 per room. Reservations must be made through the hotel by Jan. 16, 2009 to receive this rate. More information will be available about the 2009 convention later this year.

The Santa Cruz Morgan Horse Show and Open Trail Classes

The San Francisco Peninsula Morgan Horse Association is all set to host their annual Santa Cruz Morgan Horse Show (i.e. the Watsonville Show), July 18-20. All the information exhibitors need is available online at the club site,

As always, there will be a Friday night exhibitors barbecue, Saturday evening ice cream social and Sunday morning pancake breakfast. New classes are being added to include the Saddlebred exhibitors and most of Sunday’s trail classes will be open to all breeds. A silver buckle will be awarded to the Opportunity Trail Champion, and there are now haul in fees or late entry fees for the open trail classes.

The judges this year will be Nancy Whipple Becker and BJ LeMaster (trail). Photographer Kim Quallis will also be coming all the way from Roseville to cover the show.

In Memory of Nancy Sommer

Everyone here at California Riding Magazine would like to send their condolences out to the friends and family of Nancy Sommer. Nancy passed away suddenly on April 12. She was a long time member of the Sacramento Valley Morgan Horse Club and developed the club’s logo. Nancy loved the trail and spent hours mastering various trail obstacles with her Morgan partner, Figure.

In honor of her memory, the winner of the Amateur Trail Championship at the annual Mother Lode All Morgan Horse Show in Rancho Murieta, Sept. 5-7, will be presented with the Nancy Sommer Perpetual Trophy.

Win a Morgan!

Lastly, the AMHA’s “Team Morgan” is conducting an essay contest to promote the Morgan horse to equine-minded youth across the country and to raise funds for Team Morgan to travel to and host international equitation competitions. Copper Beech Morgans has graciously and generously offered the grand prize, a Morgan foal or young horse.

The contest is open to any youth 21 years of age or younger interested in owning a Morgan horse. Each contestant will submit a completed application packet, an essay, plus a signature form affirming the youth is able to care for the horse. Three finalists from each specified section of the country will be selected and notified to submit a DVD/video of themselves answering three interview questions.

The cost of the application is $100. References will be contacted for each of the finalists. Winners will be expected to submit annual letters to the Youth Council detailing the progress of his or her horse. Winners also are responsible for transportation of the horse from the sponsor’s location to their home.

Applications are available from Sara Foy, or call Sara at 603-642-4125 for more information. Submissions are due by July 31.